tv Senator Schumer on 2014 Midterm Elections CSPAN November 29, 2014 4:42pm-5:59pm EST
leadership and engagement should not be up for debate in the first place. iraq, syria, ukraine, gaza, south sudan, north korea, just to name a few. i'm not saying that we can or should do any of it alone. that's not the proposition but the world i think most people understand will not do it without us. i can tell you for certain, most of the world does not lie awake at night worrying about america's presence. they tell me they worry about what would happen in our absence. so as we write the next chapter of american diplomatic history, as we think about how tomorrow's diplomats will fill the exhibit halls of this museum, we have to remember engagement and leadership, not retrenchment and isolationism, are the american dna. it is doing the difficult work that makes america's values real in the world which ultimately defines us as a country.
i pick up on colin's comment about the person behind the window. when i travel abroad and have the opportunity like my pretty -- predecessors did to have meet-and-greet with our personnel, i tell them they're all ambassadors, every single one of them, particularly the people behind that window because they may be the only american somebody walking into that consulate ever meets and the impression of our country will come from that young foreign service officer. i think this center will remind us, all of us here, as it should and as each of these former secretaries do with their presence here today, that we're an exceptional nation, not because we say we are but because we do exceptional things. and today we celebrate a tradition of american diplomacy that has done those exceptional things, that has brought us to this important moment and today we will all commit to keep that tradition strong. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the secretaries will now proceed to the construction site outside
for the groundbreaking. the audience is welcome. after discrete pause. to travel outside into the heat, or you can watch the shovels being turned on the screen that will appear behind me. thank you all very much. [applause] newsmakers --e newsmakers,ow's rajiv shah. >> usaid has the responsibility for coordinating the response in west africa. we have seen signs of real progress over the last two or three months. but we also know that this is going to be a long-term fight to
keep ebola contained and dealt with at its source so that we can be safe here and at home. we have taken a very data-driven approach. peak wasion at its from family members touching, kissing, consoling, washing the bodies of the deceased, people who had died of ebola. so we set up teams of six or seven people draped in personal protective equipment. they go and in a dignified way safely dispose of the bodies. that, plus a huge messaging campaign, plus the fact that we now have 800 beds available, has brought the rate of transmission down dramatically to from more
than 100 a day to 15-20 a day. that is making a huge difference and transforming the entire country. that when we stay data-driven we can see real results. >> our transition -- our transmissions falling across the board? liberia is where we have seen the largest reduction in transmission. to be 2-2 and a half which meant that every sick person infected two-and-a-half others. it is now 0.75 or in that range. the data is not perfect, but that is a steep reduction in liberia. leone, we are seeing just under 2000 active cases. we think that is a high transmission rate.
we are working hard to take the lessons we have learned in and our british colleagues are building treatment units and really meeting the international part of that response to take what we have learned from liberia and deliver success in sierra leone. you can see all of our interview tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on c-span. here are a few of the comments we have recently received from our viewers. >> i must say, "washington journal" first thing in the morning, absolutely wonderful. very informative. i really appreciate you guys letting people such as myself actually call-in and sometimes even talk to people who are running our country and our world. feel like you guys do a
good job of laying it out on the youe for everybody to see not using any preferential treatment in your information. a chance toricans evaluate and check everything appreciate you all. keep up the good work. i enjoy c-span 1, 2, and three. i watch it off and on all day long. i like to know what is going on and you all make it convenient for me to know what is going on. >> i have been watching c-span since its inception. it is almost my only source of unbiased programming. my post college
education. i watch it on three different channels in west palm beach, florida, and i don't know what i would do without it because regular network programming is so biased and so bereft of logic .nd fact it really gets to be unbearable. i don't know what i would do without c-span. i love it. it is on my tv all day long. thank you. >> continue to let us know what you think about our programming. us, e-mail us, or send us a tweet. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. press club recently hosted new york senator charles
schumer. he gave his thoughts on what went wrong for democrats in the midterm elections and discussed his party's agenda moving forward. this is an hour and 40 minutes. >> good morning mr. senator. >> good morning, everybody. i am bob wheeler. it is a high honor for us to have senator, democratic policy chair chuck schumer, charles, a key member of the leadership, who will give a series of three speeches, kicking it off today, to diagnose what went wrong for democrats in the 2014 election and what they must do to be
successful in 2016 and beyond. in the current congress, senator schumer is a member of the senate judiciary committee and chair of the key subcommittee on immigration, borders and security and citizenship, which will oversee president obama's executive order on immigration. he also chairs the senate rules committee. he is a member of the finance committee and the banking, housing, and urban affairs committee. he will keep his leadership role at the senate's democratic policy chair in the current congress. his committees will be determined as we get closer into the next congress. as a member of the house for 18 years -- and that is where senator schumer and i first that, in full disclosure -- from 1980-1988, representing brooklyn and queens, was a leading sponsor of the violence against women act and the brady bill. he cowrote the assault weapons ban. he sponsored the hate crimes prevention act and sponsor legislation that required banks and credit card companies to have greater disclosure. in 1998 he was elected to the worked for aid to new
york city following the 9/11 attacks. he was the author of the legislation that it limited barriers to low-cost generic medication. it also made college tuition tax-deductible. in 2004, after his reelection, he successfully let -- led the democratic senate campaign majorities in two cycles. following 2006, senate majority leader reid appointed him to a number three position on the democratic leadership team, a position he continues to hold. in 2009 he was selected chairman of the senate rules committee, which oversees federal elections, voting rights and campaign finance. after he was reelected for a third term in 2010, he took on an expanded role as the chairman of the democratic policy and communications center or at my favorite part of the senator biography is that after graduating from harvard college, harvard law school -- and by the way, i only got on a waiting list to my great disappointment.
senator schumer in 1974 ran for the new york state assembly, becoming, at 23, the youngest member of the state legislature since theodore roosevelt. so, welcome to the national press club, where news happens. i want to thank the national press club staff for helping organize the event today. bill a karen, joanne booz and richard, among others. and our interns, if you would raise your hand -- and rebecca vander, my longtime executive assistant, who will be the van a white -- the vanna whi of the eventte. -- the vanna white of the event. she will bring you the microphone if you have questions. we get better sound that way. also on senator schumer's staff, matt house, and many of the others who made this event possible today. we will address the controversial issues that are out there, the immigration
order, the health care bill, and whether those will be allowed to stay or whether they will be killed or we can buy -- or weakened by funding cuts. chuck hagel at the department of defense, his new position. these are the new items that are up, but we look forward to senator schumer's speech and he will speak for about 25 minutes, and then we will open it to questions. senator schumer? >> thank you, bob. it is great to be back here at the press club. happy thanksgiving. i hope you are all with friends and family and have a good one. i will start off with a little thanksgiving story. i was born on thanksgiving day, 1950, november 23. my mom went into labor at about 5:00 a.m., and in those days of course things were a lot different.
the dads drove the moms into the hospital, and the moms were whisked upstairs while the dads waited in the waiting room, smoked cigars, and waited for the blessed event. my mom's obstetrician was on -- in a hospital on 29th street and 7th avenue. it has been subsequently closed. in any case, he got to the hospital about 8:00, 8:30, took my mom upstairs, and my dad went to the waiting room. in being the adventurous soul he was, he realized it was is thanksgiving, only four blocks from the thanksgiving day and parade. he went to watch the parade instead of sitting in the room. he watched it for three hours. at the end of it, he saw a friend of his and they went into a local pub to celebrate the upcoming blessed event. i was born at 11:00 a.m., he
showed up at 3:30. precipitating the first fight my parents had over me. [laughter] fortunately, it did not end things. they have been married for 63 years, praise god. he is 91, she is 86. thanks giving has been a blessed event in our family. the title of my speech is, "a democrat majority in 2016 and how to make it happen." as all of you know, there is a statue in the harbor of the city i represent. the beautiful lady in the harbor holding the torch represents the american dream. if you ask the average american what the american dream means to him, he would not put it in fancy textbook language or academic terms. he or she would put it very simply in saying it means if i work hard i will be doing better 10 years from now than i am doing today. my kids will be doing still
better than me. however, if that torch flickers, the torch is no longer lit, people no longer believe in the american dream, we will become a different country. and that is exactly what is happening. the light is flickering, has been flickering for over the last decade, and that fact has dominated our politics more than any other. the most salient factor in our political economy is that for the first time in american history, that'll class incomes -- middle class incomes have been in decline for over a decade, and the grand optimism over the american dream is in jeopardy. the 2014 election results can be explained this way. during 2013, neither party convinced the middle class that they had an effective way to get them out of this morass, that they had an effective plan to create good jobs and raise incomes.
as 2014 began, the parties were in stalemate. but when government failed to deliver on a string of noneconomic issues, the rollout of the obamacare exchanges, the mishandling of the surge in a border crossers, ineptitude at him border crossers, ineptitude at him the v.a., initial handling of the ebola threat, people lost faith in government's ability to work, then blamed the incumbent governing party, democrats, creating a republican wave. ultimately, the public knows in its gut that a strong and active government is the only way to reverse the middle class decline and help revive the american dream. democrats lost in 2014 because the government made mistakes that eroded the electorate's confidence in its ability to improve the lives of the middle class.
but that same underlying expectation that government should help make life easier for the middle class is as strong as it has ever been, setting the stage for a democratic victory in 2016, if and only if we can convince people that government can work and help restore the middle class to prosperity. him him we are in a much better position to do this than republicans because when economic conditions are declining for the middle class, the electorate instinctively turns the democrats -- turns to democrats. but in order to win in 2016, democrats must embrace government, not run away from it. the republican mantra is counterintuitive to the middle class because they know government is needed to stand up to the be economic forces like technology and globalization that push them around. him if democrats can create a convincing plan that is both achievable and believable,
embracing government is a way to help the middle class advance. we will roll to victory in 2016. in order to demonstrate that government can work, democrats must proceed down two parallel tracks. first we must convince americans that government can be on their side and is not just a tool of special interests. we must re-energize our vision by making a forceful case when democrats will govern again that we will make government the people's champion, not captive to the powerful. this message has an element of populism. democratic populism does not mean the rabble rousing populism or divisiveness of huey long or william jennings bryan. it recognizes that the powerful have much more access and influence over government and specific and strong actions must be taken to curb that influence so government can really
represent the average person. second, and even more important, we must illustrate that government can provide solutions by delineating specific concrete programs that if enacted would actually improve lives and incomes. these proposals must resonate with the middle class so that voters believe they will be attainable and effective, which means they must work politically. they must also be joined by an effective theme so that people do not see specific democratic programs as disjointed pieces but rather as parts of a whole. we must convince the middle class that the only way out of their morass is by a stronger and effective government, not by demeaning or running from it. here should be our pact with the middle class. using government in a direct and focused way, we will provide a shield against large forces that have worked against middle-class
families so they have a better job and more money in their pockets. we will have enacted government that enables the middle class to have the tools they need to make your lives better. we will restore a strong and stable economic family -- economic middle class for working families so they can stop worrying about getting by and start thinking about getting ahead. our message must be we will help get you moving forward again so that you can be better off 10 years from now and your kids lives will be better than yours. this is more than just a political necessity. we have a strong policy imperative to do this as well. while many may not know it, the nation is on the edge of a crisis. if we have another 10 years of middle-class decline, we will have a fundamentally different country, a sour, angry country where people of different
backgrounds, races, and economic levels no longer get along, with a government that few of us, left or right, will like. but the political opening certainly provides us with an opportunity. four election cycles of ping-ponged results have shown us that people are yearning for a political party to offer concrete solutions, only to be disappointed each time. democrats need to fill that void, and even in a world of negativity, exacerbated by a cynical and negative media, we can succeed. sometimes people forget that the struggle between pro-government and antigovernment forces is not a recent phenomenon. it has dominated our politics for the last 90 years. it has dominated our political economy. during that time, the fundamental divide between democrats and republicans has
been their attitude towards government. democrats believe that an active and forceful government can and must be a positive force in people's lives here and republicans believe government is a detrimental force. the less, the better. one fact illustrates how start this division is today. the most conservative democrat still believes more government than the most liberal senate republican. susan collins, the belief in government, its size, its role, its possibilities is what fundamentally divides our parties. over the course of the 21st century, our pendulum has swung from faith in government to distrust. these are that tectonic plates.
they move slowly, but have drastic and lasting up to consequences when they do. they're moving back in probe government direction -- in pro-government direction. a pro-government mentality dominated from 1932-1980. beforehand, fear and uncertainty reigned. franklin government contenting with the forces unleashed and confronted by an economic calamity of the highest order leaned on the leaders of government to stop the bleeding and pull a country out of depression. fdr created jobs and built a social safety net hinged on social security that lifted older americans out of crippling poverty. these actions bound together in a new deal demonstrated that
government good indeed improve the standard of living for average americans. they bought in. democrats enjoyed to -- two generations as the majority party. even republicans played on pro-government agendas. eisenhower built a highway system. richard nixon created a new federal agency, the epa. by 1980, two things happened. first, any party that has been in power a long time looses touch and goes off track. on issues such as crime and welfare, democrats veered too far away from the american people, it indicating government may not be working for them anymore. the more fundamental reason is that democrats had been so successful in creating a stable and economic system.
people thought i'm fine on my own. i don't need government anymore. they took that opportunity to convince them they no longer needed government. is a bit counterintuitive, yes. but the success of the system helped undermine the idea that gave birth to it. when the democratic party godhead of the middle class, refrains like you don't need help from the government, found receptive audience. americans started to believe that the federal government have become bloated, sporadic, in effect if. ronald reagan was able to create an antigovernment, shrink government majority that lasted until 2008. he couldn't have said it more bluntly.
"government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem. that ethos defined the era. the mayor image of nixon eisenhower during the new deal era. clinton echoed reagan when he said the year of the government is over. but by 2008, the reagan era of shrinking government ended up. it ended for one reason -- the gap between productivity and wages. they began to detach in the late 70's and early 80's. they became so large that by 2000 medium income actually started to decline.
for the first time in american history, it has stayed in decline for more than a decade. between 1950 and 1980, productivity and wages went up in tandem at a high rate, creating a golden era of middle-class opportunity. starting around 1980, the two began to separate. productivity continue to rise at a rapid rate. the economy grew. wages continue to go up, but not at the same rate as productivity. the forces of technology and globalization began to kick in. by 2000, those forces, private sector there forces became so strong that instead of
productivity going up, wages started to decline while productivity continue to go up. economists were surprised that medium wages were declining. average wages were going up because of gains at the high end of the spectrum leading the medium behind. the reason is both obvious and opaque. as technology continues to advance, automation supplants employment across a number of different industries. low skilled and high school wage and salary workers lose their jobs to machines. mobilization enabled by technology allows businesses and employers to locate low which
markets halfway around the globe, putting downward pressure on wages. while overall technology has many good effect, making markets more efficient cannot be denied. it puts downward pressure on wages. over the last decade, these forces of had the medium income decreased by a large 6.5%. adjusted for inflation, need an income is $3600 lower than in 2001. the decline in income caused the great tectonic plates -- pro-government to flip in 2008. you people that they need government again. that they are not fine on their own and more. americans felt it in their
bones. the deck was stacked against them. in order magnitude shy of what our country faced in the 30's and the middle class no longer confident they had a bright future. democrats captured the house, senate, and presidency to use government to stop the fall caused by the financial crisis and reversed the middle class decline. administration deserves a lot of credit moving quickly and decisively to pass a stimulus that saved our country from a depression and included several important and politically provisions like the massive middle-class tax cut.
both the tarp and the stimulus were glaring examples that only government can counter the big forces in our political economy. passing the stimulus was a positive first step that the new democratic majority would go to work for the middle class. the stimulus was not the bright spot it could have been for two reasons -- first, republicans try to block it from the very start in early 2009. democrats were unable to pass a large stimulus as the economy recovered. only three would consider voting for the stimulus. they demanded significant diminution to the size of the stimulus. while it prevented things from getting worse, it's positive effects didn't break through. second, it was a mistake for democrats to make the breath of the stimulus so wide that
funding seem to be going to any number of pet programs is not just things that would jumpstart the economy. they gave republicans opportunity to create the impression that the bill was loaded up with pork which they used to frame the whole bill even though it was only maybe 5% of it. as a taxpayer-funded giveaway to taxpayer interests -- the stimulus even though it was successful as a measure to pull our economy act on the brink was not as successful as it could have been politically in making the middle class feel government was for them. after passing the stimulus, democrats should have continued to propose middle-class oriented programs and build on the
partial success of the stimulus. unfortunately, democrats lose the opportunity the american people gave them. we took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem -- health care reform. the plight of uninsured americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance practices needed to be addressed, but it wasn't the change we were hired to make. america's are crying out for the end to the recession. that are wages and more jobs and not changes in health care. this makes sense considering 85% of all americans got their health care from either the government, medicare, medicaid, or their employer. health care costs were going up that it really affect them. affordable care act was aimed at the 36 million americans who were not covered. it should have been reported on a third of the uninsured are even registered to vote. in 2010, only 40% voted. even if the uninsured cap with the rate which the likely didn't, you would still only be talking about 5% of the electorate.
a small percentage of the electorate -- it made no political sense. when democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, the democrats are not paying enough attention to me. again, our health care system is riddled with unfairness and inefficiency. a problem in desperate need of fixing. the changes that were made our and will continue to be positive changes. they would have been better able to address it if democrats had first opposed and passed programs aimed at a broader slot of the middle class. have you started more broadly, the middle class would have been more receptive to the idea president obama wanted to help them. they would of held a more pro-government view and given
him the permission structure to build a more pro-government coalition. then democrats would have been a better position to tackle our nation's health care prices. as it turned out, the back lash to the passage of the health care field the tea party movement which respond by the economic crisis and the discontent of 2008. the tea party to great advantage in the president's focus on health care and said this government is aimed at someone else, not you. the implementation problems with obama health care lands, the tea party said, see? government doesn't work and cannot work for you. adding insult to injury. neither the obama ministration nor democrats in congress paid much attention to the messaging of health care because we are busy with the passage of implementation.
republicans in the two-party fill that vacuum and spent 2010 convinced the average american that not only get up cannot work, but only if a parade -- but turned obamacare into a metaphor and evidence of electorate government wouldn't work anyway. the on obamacare give antigovernment forces and the republican party temporarily. they dominated the 20 10 elections. antigovernment forces and philosophy gained the upper hand. like all movements that live inside their own ideological bubble, the tea party went too far on issue after issue.
people realized they were extreme, far outside the mainstream. average americans didn't want the dramatic curtailing of government advocated by the tea party and mention republicans. obama was elected in 2012 because the tea party victors didn't solve middle-class problems. incomes continue to decline. the people gave has obama and the democrats another chance. but no new government agenda. the election of 2012 was essentially a negative one. every direction of the tea party extremists rather than embracing a large, strong democratic that form. in 2013 with the victories in the house and senate, democrats could have been poised to act. the public expected programs aimed at the middle class, but
republicans decided to block all attends of pro-government expansion and did so successfully given the remaining control of the house and the need for 60 votes to get anything done in the senate. during the first three quarters, pro-and antigovernment forces were about equal in strength. neither party gained the upper hand. when republicans went too far and shut down the government, the ratio by which people favored them on. and for shelley, the shutdown was followed shortly. the rollout was a clear example of governments ineffectiveness and became the perfect anecdote for the republican antigovernment argument. this problem is compounded throughout the spring and summer of 2014 by cascade of issues. va, invaders at the white house,
ebola, isis, all field by sensationalist media that exaggerated hype and emphasize the negativity of these events. had middle-class incomes been going up, the temporary government they'll years which directly reflected a small percentage of the population wouldn't have had the same impact, but they played on a substrate decline. as a result, americans in 2014 disillusioned with government voted out those they considered incumbents and did the republicans another chance. the past six years can be summed up by the middle class frustrations with whom they regarded as the incumbent party. each time a party appeared to be in charge but is unable to convince the public they have
the solution, the electorate fix the other party creating a sort of electoral whiplash. let's look. successive alternative -- alternating elections. in 2010, voters tired of democrats put in republicans. in 2012, tired of republicans, they put democrats back in. in 2014 with the perception that democrats were in charge, they flip back to the republicans. each case with maybe the exception of 2008 represents a fundamentally negative election, a rejection of the party perceived to be in charge rather than enthusiastic support of the party they voted for it.
the discontent continues until one party convinces that middle-class voter it has a vision for an agenda it will accomplish creating jobs and increasing middle-class incomes. that struggle will be laid out on the same battlefield that has dominated lyrical strife since 1932. the pro versus antigovernment battlefields. democrats have a natural advantage. to understand, we must examine why incomes have declined. why the productivity doesn't result in middle-class economic advancement. it can be described in one word -- technology. technology allows capital to garner for far greater share of
increases. technology allows machines, computers, robots to produce goods more efficiently than workers can, displacing millions of workers. technology allows distribution networks to conglomerate and become more efficient or an amazon to be created that displaces millions of workers in mom-and-pop stores. technology allows companies to locate far from where the markets are and seek lower labor costs. at first in the southern united states and now overseas. technology is a private sector force in the free market
economy. it is primarily the private sector there that produces efficiencies high-technology making them more profitable by reducing the number of workers they employee and the amount of dollars they need to pay them. let me be clear -- this is not a crime to stop these forces. these technologies, globalization, is an inherently malign forces. have to make production of goods and services more efficient. we cannot stop progress, nor do we want to. an attempt to stop these forces would be like the early 1800s. what democrats are proposing is not to stop or slow them down, but figure out ways for the middle class to adapt these new forces to be able to thrive amidst these forces here and we
must create an environment where the middle class can successfully navigate these new seas. both parties have opposing answers when addressing the problem of how we increase middle-class incomes. the republican answer is to give private sector forces even more power to function without inhibition. this answer is fundamentally counterintuitive to many economists and to most middle-class voters. if private sector forces, or by station, automation are causing problems, why give them more power? reduce the constraint on companies moving overseas.
the ability to protect workers when they are badly treated or discriminated against. reduce the ability of workers to upgrade education skills to become unemployable in the new technological world? these answers make no sense to most average americans. the democratic answer is far more compatible with middle-class thinking in need. when large forces harness power and push you around, you need a large after force to stand up to -- to stand up for you. the only force that can give you the tools to stand up to the large tectonic forces that can mitigate the effects that technology creates on your income is an active and committed government that is on your side. people know in the heart that when they, are full sector forces affect their lifestyles,
only government can protect them. when people are educated, they do better. they understand when we put domestic industries and a level playing field, the middle class does better. when workers can bargain for a greater share, the middle class does better. the only way to achieve these ends is government. the private sector left on its own cannot. will the private sector pay to build our highways, roads, and bridges. will they make college more affordable? the answer is no. the democratic pro-government answer has a natural high political ground at a time that incomes are declining.
that doesn't mean we always win. when government messes up, we can easily lose. we still have a natural advantage. this is the root cause reason as to why democrats will be the majority party for a generation. it is important and ultimately more dominating than any temporary tactical advantage that either party gains. the private sector unleashing the private sector will not solve middle-class needs. a strong government on your side will. even in this past election, it was not a repudiation of government. it shows we are the favorites in 2016 if we produce a believable
pro-government approach. deeply conservative states with conservative candidates running for office, minimum wage increases have passed. those republicans were forced to back them. they were on the ballot. according to the latest poll taken after the election, here are the three most popular things people said congress should do next year. 82% -- congress should provide access to lower costs of student loans. 75% -- spend more on infrastructure here. 65% -- raise the minimum wage. since 2010 a third favor more active government. a third a less active government here in a third something in
between. two thirds of americans are open to the idea and active and government -- and not government could improve their lives. some are not opposed to larger government, but don't believe it will be on their side. it bears repeating -- the 2014 election was not a repudiation of government in general. just another sign -- right now the american public is so cynical about government that the democratic pro-government message wouldn't be immediately successful. let me explain. just as the industrial revolution and least portions that were test harnessed by -- new economic order created
without government intervention is naturally beneficial to those at the top of economic heap. just look at how product dignity, stock market values have continued to climb while incomes have stagnated and the share of corporate profits the go to labor have fallen. in the government is seen as working for those interest who are ready have the advantage, americans are soured and frankly angry. deep down, americans are much more concerned with who government works for than a size for its scope. in order to restore belief in government as a force for good, the first step is convince voters we are on their site and not in the grips of special
interests. to borrow president clinton's phrase, we must prove the year a big corporate influence over government is over. big business, big banks, they oil, they may be allowed a seat at the table, but americans feel special interests are buying a room and renting it out for profit. lobbyists and lawyers carve out ridiculous loopholes. when government fails to prosecute, some of which were propped out, americans have government is not working for them. when ceos and executives pay less in taxes under secretaries, americans feel government is now working for them. an element of populism, even
those of us who don't consider ourselves a populace is necessary to open the door before we can rally people to you at a strong government has shrunk over mostly implemented. this is true for the one third of american middle who are neither pro-or anti-government and who would not be opposed to an active government but must be convinced it will be on their side. only then after democrats can convince middle-class americans that we are the party that will put government back on their side can we embark on a second crucial step that would cement the pro-government majority proposing and passing legislation that is effective and acutely focused on reversing the middle class decline. that strategy must be our blueprint. it should unite democrat from elizabeth warren to hillary clinton to joe manchin.
progressives have done well to highlight that the economy is stacked to death in favor of special interests. if we do our job well, it offers a positive message that moderate democrats can sell even in the deepest red of states. every democrat could follow this playbook. help win back those working-class voters who turned out in most presidential in midterm elections and who decide to trend against democrats in this election. i want to address that second step putting forth a policy for the middle class. what should those policies of the in how should we decide upon them. in the coming weeks and months we will have this debate within the democratic party. we will outline what specific policy measures we hope to achieve in the 114th congress
and beyond. today in a laundry list of measures, i would like to outline not what policy democrats would propose, but how to build our party platform to pill directly to the middle class and convince them that government is on their side. they form an objective lens. first we must ask ourselves if this policy directly benefits middle class families in an immediate and tangible way. you will it lower their expenses in a meaningful way? it we are to fulfill our pact with the middle class, we must particular policies don't make their lifestyle more affordable. period.
the policies must be aimed at who, not what. not all policies will involve spending. changing labor laws so workers could demand more pay. rather changing rules of the game to make it easy for the middle class to fight the forces they are up against. second, the policy should be simply and easily explained. third, is it likely to happen that democratic priority should be achievable? yes, they have to be a lot more than just messaging goals. fourth, is a policy effect the broad swathes of americans? it did for small slice of the country. they're even policies that would help constituencies within the middle class, but not a great deal of people.
those policy should be considered, but not the core to the platform. they must fit together in an effective theme and even symphony and see them as parts of a whole. the democrats follow this rubric, it will create a natural path that could help convince middle-class americans that in this modern world, government is not only helpful, but a necessity. we're more than were willing to work with the public in college to get legislation done that meets these criteria. one thing we won't have to worry about is the idea that republicans will adopt a positive middle-class agenda before we get a chance to do so. that won't happen. we publicans and armored with
the concept that only the private sector can solve america's problems will only be effective at fostering negative attitudes towards government. and set of focusing on the middle class, it will spend their time bashing obamacare. when it comes to doing anything positive, they will be era lysed. take a look at their new proposals for the new congress. there are specific ideas of a positive, tenable agenda. proving the keystone pipeline and repealing the medical device tax. the pipe when my produce about 9000 temporary jobs in one limited in that part of the country. give me a break. a good highway bill, infrastructure bill, we create hundreds of thousands of jobs and provide decades of economic benefits. the medical device tax, many democrats are for its repeal.
it might create a few jobs. in both cases, the republicans are focusing on the short-term needs of a few narrow special interests instead of the long-term benefit of those interests as well as the broad middle class. our work is cut out for us during the next year. we don't have to hurry. republicans are neither willing or able to fill in this void. they will continue their negative ways. in 2015, we have to show the american people that we will be
ready to govern as a united party. by the end of 2015 to win the election and to govern effectively thereafter, democrats must make sure three things are in place. first, our party embraces government and doesn't run away from it. second, we are prepared to take on special interests when necessary and show the average person that government can be on their side. third, become up with the policy plan that is focused, easily understood, achievable, and fits together to form a larger narrated. we must have our party embrace these three strategies. we must have our presidential candidate on the same page. this is our most important mission during the year 2015. together democrats must embrace government.
it is what we believe in. it is what unites our party. most importantly, the only thing that is going to get the middle class going again. if we run away, downplay it, or act as if we are embarrassed, people won't vote for our version of the republican view. they will vote for -- he will follow the republican chant. republicans will paint government as the enemy. the media will highlight the government failures because it makes sensational news. if we run away, the negative misconceptions will take route. even the people support our ideas, they won't believe government can deliver. we are the party that believes in government as a force for good. with a robust defense of government to a renewed public space -- sorry, without a robust government to renew faith, we
will be holding back for fear of being identified as advocates for big government. beyond the political imperatives and more important, a deep and sensitive imperative for democrats embrace government to make it work. a government doesn't deliver, the middle class will be left without the only advocate powerful enough to give them a fighting chance in our modern economy. if the republican vision of a government stripped there comes to pass, we just broadly defined will continue to decline or even plummet even as product to the continues to progress here it incomes will decline. college education will be harder
to afford. a job party to secure. if they don't invest or stimulate, a comfortable middle-class life will be harder and harder to achieve the most americans. incomes continue to decline, people will become sour, angry, and subject to the spell demagogues. if religious, ethnic groups turn on each other in a way we haven't seen in almost a century, the grand optimism that is america would be extinguished. we would be a sour, angry people as a flickering light of the american dream dwindles and the america we know and love no longer exists. if democrats embrace government,
if we said about convincing the american public it does not have to be held hostage by powerful interests, but have their backs, if democrats embrace government and propose a believable agenda that average americans understand all make their incomes grow, they not only will we win election, but capture america and its imagination for the next generation. if we can do all that, we will have saved the american dream and the flaming torch held aloft by the lady in the harbor of the city of which i live will burn brightly again in the heart of every american. thank you.
>> ok. we do need to take some questions. >> this subject first. >> this is the subject. let me try this -- your prognosis that republicans failed because they are going to block all of the positive middle-class provisions you said democrats want to do, that you are saying democrats will failed because republicans will block everything? it sounds like you're not suggesting there is an opportunity for the middle to succeed. is there a way what you are proposing could happen rather than this view that we have no hope? >> one important modification. it is not republicans will fail or block things. their whole philosophy is let the powerful sectors run
unrestrained. don't get in the way of sending jobs overseas. don't get in the way of letting people have rights in the workplace. don't do anything to help people go to college. cut, cut, cut. it is deeper than that. their philosophy doesn't fit the times. that is why i'm confident will prevail if we do things right. what will happen in 2016? the title of my speech is how we will win in 2016. we hope that if we propose things that and if it middle-class that meet the criteria i laid out, maybe the republicans will support us.
in alaska and arkansas, they endorsed the minimum wage. it was on the ballot. the republican leadership realized that pure extraction is him isn't going to help them -- can they convince the tea party element to do some things with us? that is the $64,000 question. i don't know what will happen. getting things done for the middle class is good for us. if they don't, we will pursue and pursue. there will be the kind of reaction you have seen in the last few elections. >> you have got the microphone. let's start right there. you in the front row.
>> two quick questions. you talk about government. the innovation issue -- interest groups seems right on their, but you talk about big corporations. there's this identity group. [indiscernible] >> let me answer both. i think the federal government should set the tone for democrats in 2016. what i say applies to state government as well. just as the middle class needs help against big forces, there are certain things states can do to be help will.
it is not just big corporations. there are lots of interest groups. we have to focus on the middle class. discount interest groups. is this going to benefit the average voter? i have tried to talk directly to the people. i think that is what we have to do. talk to the average voter. here is what we are doing. not worry about intermediaries. hi, jerry. >> questions about health care. regarding what you said about health care being the wrong priority, did you make that clear to others within the democrat party at the time? >> yes. >> what reaction did you get? >> lots of people thought this is the one opportunity to do it. it's very important to do.
we just shouldn't have done it first. we are in the middle of a recession. people are hurting. what about me? i'm losing my job. it's not health care that i worry about. my income is declining. it is not my health care issue. 85% of americans were fine with their health care in 2009 maybe because it was paid for or their employer. they weren't clamoring. the average middle-class voter weren't opposed to doing health care, but it wasn't at the top of the agenda. that allowed the opening for the tea party that was playing on the banks of the recession -- angst of the recession. they see what you are not doing. >> and a concern what you're saying about health care could plant in that republicans field
efforts? >> i don't think they need anything else to play into the repeal efforts. [laughter] you look at the ads in 2014, the very few republicans call for repeal. very few in 2010. it has much less weight. they moved on to other issues by and large. >> [inaudible] >> how much success do think the government will have? maybe eliminating agencies? >> another thing about the 2014 elections, not many republicans were harping on the deficit. they were still out there, that it wasn't at the top of the list.
this is an advantage of the health care bill. i don't even know if it was an issue in this campaign. health care costs is going way down instead of up. that has helped bring our deficit down rather significantly. the biggest reason the deficit was going up because of increased cost of medicare and medicaid. they had a positive effect. don't get me wrong. i'm proud to have voted for it. but it should have come later. >> senator schumer, with the democrats consider a strategy of giving republicans growth as a way -- >> i have never liked that strategy. we have to be true to who we are. we are a party of average folks
in the middle class. we are a pro-government. we have been all along. you can't run from it. that is what has divided the party to this day. mancin is probably more pro-government than collins. >> following up on the first question on the economic agenda, what would -- how long is the window next year? >> you would have to sit as a little birdie in the republican caucuses and see how strong are the the republican leadership? one of the problems is in so many congressional districts and
in a large number of senate districts, the tea party is large if not dominant. they are looking at the interest of the party in 2016 versus individual politics of each of their states and districts. they conflict. where they come out, i don't know. i deliberately didn't get into specifics. we need to come out with a plan i outlined. i don't think a republican colleagues will be filling in that void. >> senator -- >> the fractious press corps. [laughter]
>> we're doing the best we can with one mic. >> i wanted to ask about the trade agenda. >> go ahead. sorry. >> the transpacific partnership -- >> i would wait and see but the proposals are. the overwhelming view of the average voter and most democrats is that trade overall has hurt wages significantly. what do we do about it? >> senator schumer, i wanted to ask you a topic of the day. can i ask you a question about the president's executive order on immigration? i wondered if that order will incentivize people to come to the country illegally even
though the president has said specifics of who would be eligible. it has -- >> i don't think it will. no. >> [inaudible] >> senator, i wanted to ask about the likely revision due talked about in your speech. how do you define "likely"? >> because of the way i described my politics, if we come up with a strong agenda, will have a large victory in 2016 reminiscent of 2008. we have to be prepared to act on things that matter and will lift middle-class incomes.
we're not the same as roosevelt, but a great model. these are a mess. a bigger mess then what people know. realize the anguish of voters. the great thing about america is our optimism -- that is dying. once that dies, -- other recessions were shorter. i know it will be better 10 years from now. they don't say that anymore. the bottom line is if we are able to reverse that in convince people that we can, we will be a majority party for a generation. we will have to look at the 2015-2016 time and play it by ear. if our colleagues --